Forced to a subscription fee?

@Timgray Both of those were purposefully omitted due to cost, having to work with a dealer, not user customizable, etc.

I am also rather certain in my assumption that the OP wasn’t looking to invest several thousand dollars into something like that when they are worried about a small subscription fee.

[quote=“Timgray, post:20, topic:25859, full:true”]Granted it’s real home automation stuff and not a toy like smartthings, so you pay significantly more.

Um… what’s “real home automation”? And how is ST not that?

It was just a snarky reply from someone who has likely used, worked with, or has a Crestron/AMX system. Both are professionally installed home automation systems that cost several thousand dollars just to get your foot in the door. There are several things it can do that ST cannot, but it isn’t an apples to apples comparison and doesn’t really belong in the same conversation really.

In my past, I’ve had to interface with both systems from an HVAC controls standpoint and quite frankly, I found them underwhelming (could have been crappy dealers I had to work with), but for many, many years, there was no alternative. There still isn’t really an alternative for someone that has the money and wants to pay someone else to do everything for them, but saying they don’t require a subscription fee is a bit of misleading advertising. Sure, they don’t, but you’d get 20 years of SmartThings premium monitoring for the first installation visit on a Crestron/AMX system. :wink:

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The difference is reliability.

Cloud based can never get past a 85% reliability.

No, that’s the opposite of what I said. The premium fees apply to the ability to generate and save video clips as a response to an event - not the ability to view the live stream off the camera.

That wasn’t especially clear there, that’s all.

Hate to break your bubble but all high end systems have annual fees, upgrade fees, truck roll fees, maintenance contracts, etc. But then again, if you can afford these systems, you probably don’t pay the bill anyway, you have an accountant take care of those little people. :smile:


It is hard if not impossible to run, maintain and upgrade a service solely on sale of new hardware. ST obviously has significant costs related to maintaining the cloud infrastructure.
I have never seen any service provider not have a clause somewhere in their user agreement reserving their legal rights to possibly charge for some level of service at some time in the future.
Even paid lifetime subscriptions are for the life of the product or current service, not for the life of the subscriber. Look at all the people that signed contracts for unlimited cellular service 'forever" 10-15 years ago. I am pretty sure we all had one of those plans. How many of us still have unlimited cellular internet from those contracts ? How many would even still want that unlimited analog service we were so happy to have ?
So ST ( or any company) realistically has 3 choices for sustained revenue stream.

  1. keep increasing sales of new hardware at a rate that produces a profit.
  2. Sell ad space on their sites and app to bring in steady revenue
  3. Come up with some subscription service whether tier based for some advanced service level or for everybody.

At this point they are still successful using 1 , but there have been admitted rumors for 2 years exploring number 3 .

I don’t know about you, but personally if I choose the service is worth the subscription than I would pay it , otherwise I would choose not to. I’d rather pay $1/week, $5/month , than to have an ad for lawn service every time my sprinklers are activated , or a dog walker every time I leave for work, maybe a personal security service whenever I put the house in vacation mode.

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If you ignore the time investment in the platform, your major cost is in all the “things” not the $99 SmartThings hub. The “things” are all ZigBee (HAv1.2) or Zwave. These are standards that will likely work with other hubs now or in the future. So if you spend “thousands” on things, your investment in not with SmartThings itself but with the technologies (communication protocols) used within the things. Sure down the road there will be low-power WiFi and Bluetooth things but for the foreseeable future a competitors hub will likely support ZigBee and ZWave.

So I’m not so worried about investing a large amount into things and the SmartThings platform as I feel like I could jump ship down the road and take my things with me.


Yup. Nothing ST does is locked to ST. It is an OPEN platform. Based on standards.

At worst, you have to reset up everything on a new hub or platform.

If ST offered additional services for a fee, it will be up to the users to pay or not. But I never see ST charging a base subscription fee for using a hub to cloud solution and be a radio relay for devices.

Doesn’t make much sense in the long run anyway. However, premium support, 24 hour support, install help, migration help, streaming video, and many other optional add-ons should have fees associated, in my opinion.

If you don’t like ST, find me another option as OPEN as ST. Nothing is as open and cheap as ST and supports zigbee :smile:


I’ve jumped ships 3 (?) times now. currently cruising along on the SS Smartthings . So far my only real “loss” is the box of old “obsolete” hubs in the basement. As you said all my things have jumped platforms with me.

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I don’t understand why folks seem to think that this (setup effort) is a trivial issue! :confounded:

A “well automated Smart Home” will not only have 100+ devices, but 100+ customized automations. While the devices we use with SmartThings are using standard protocols that are compatible with a few existing competitors (and likely growing), the automations are entirely proprietary (either built in or custom code using a proprietary Groovy based API & platform)… discounting a few weak automations using third-party services like IFTTT.

Based on the cost of skilled labor, the cost of configuring my automated smart home exceeds the cost of hardware by several times… A magnitude, in fact.

That is the greatest concern of using a non-owned product (ie., a product dependant on the vendor to provide ongoing services at an affordable price). The lock-in is due to a tremendous sunk cost.

[quote=“tgauchat, post:32, topic:25859, full:true”]
I don’t understand why folks seem to think that this (setup effort) is a trivial issue! :confounded:

Based on the cost of skilled labor, the cost of configuring my automated smart home exceeds the cost of hardware by several times… A magnitude, in fact.[/quote]

I think it’s probably because most of us (certainly not all) view HA as a hobby. For example, when I upgraded to Hub 2.0 I was looking forward to the time! I liked the idea of having a fresh start and built it back up from scratch. That’s not to say that I didn’t have my moments when I was cursing things that didn’t work right, but over all it was more enjoyable than it was frustrating.

Some people like to tinker in the garage on their cars. Some people like to build model airplanes or paint or do gardening. For me, this is just another hobby. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out when things don’t work right, but usually in the end I sit back and I enjoy the finished product and the fact that I made it work the way it’s working.

If I had to jump ship at a later point I guess I’d probably approach the new setup the same way.


The “smart home industry” will certainly not be considered mainstream until the majority of its consumers view it as an essential, and even critical, household convenience; rather than a “hobby”.

I even bet right now that a substantial (though still small?) proportion of SmartThings Customers would rather live a day or two without television than without their functioning smart devices and automations.

I think it is a good thing for this dependency to grow – this will maximize customers’ benefits from the product; yet, ironically, such a trend will also result in maximum frustration when the SmartThings platform fails.

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Definitely true… I would temper this somewhat by saying that the people who view setup as a painful process (and therefore would feel the move to a new system very rough) are also the people who are less likely to be as involved in things like writing their own code or device type and/or setting up many complex apps, routines, and interactions.

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Ah… there’s the thing – it sneaks up on them.

I can’t count the number of acquaintances who expressed utter despair when their PC or Mac hard-drive crashed irrecoverably without a backup. Or asking all their “contacts” to resend their phone numbers and text messages due to a phone lost dropped in the toilet.

These devices were purchased as clean-slates. Over time, they become loaded with critical information, photos, videos, software, apps … Months or even years of effort.

I think that could be the pattern for a SmartThings user. They will start with very few devices and few SmartApps and other automations; but every now and then they will add more … and more. And suddenly the platform is indispensable and irreproducible.

In nut shell, HA stands for “Highly Addictive” and as of now no antidote available! :slight_smile:


They can’t charge a subscriptuon fee for locally controlled devices. What they may very well charge a fee for is cloud storage for the video clips from your cameras. You can store them locally on a microsd card at each camera, but if the camera is stolen, burnt in a fire, or shorted in a flood wouldn’t it be nice to have been able to buy some storage space on a remote server to be able to access tge last few videos from that camera.

Of course they can (though I doubt they will). The Hub V2 will never be fully cloud independent.

Many competitive systems are based on a small monthly fee (eg., PEQ) and it could be SmartThings’s best path to a long term higher quality platform.

Yeah, tell me about it… Now that the new Lowes sensors are in my closest store, the employees there now know me on a first name basis…

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